Exeter was given a major boost with the announcement that the John Lewis Partnership will be bringing a new store to the city.
The John Lewis At Home store will move into the former Debenhams building on Paris Street at the end of next year.
The iconic building, owned by Exeter City Council and leased by city developers Land Securities, has been vacant now for three years since Debenhams moved to the nearby Princesshay development in 2007.
Cllr Greg Sheldon, Lead Councillor for Economy and Tourism, said the announcement was a major boost to the city. “John Lewis is a household name that people associate with quality and we’re thrilled that they have chosen Exeter to expand their UK presence,” he told the Devon Week.
“Princesshay helped put Exeter on the retail map and John Lewis can only enhance our reputation as a popular shopping destination.”
Speaking about the deal, Land Securities development director, Nick Davis, said: “We have been working with John Lewis for some time and are very pleased to confirm that they wish to take a significant part of the old Debenhams building. We worked closely with them to deliver a planning consent and are now on site with plans to open the new store by October 2011.”
The intention is for John Lewis At Home to occupy five floors of the former Debenhams building on Sidwell Street with the remainder being made available to another occupier, to be announced in due course. With John Lewis At Home taking this space for a medium term period, there is the opportunity to develop detailed proposals for a full department store on the Bus Station site over the next few years.